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McDaniel v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 17, 2017

BRIAN M. MCDANIEL, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          VICTOR E. BIANCHINI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In June of 2011, Plaintiff Brian M. McDaniel applied for Supplemental Security Income benefits under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner of Social Security denied the application.1 Plaintiff, represented by the Law Offices of 1 On January 23, 2017, Nancy Berryhill took office as Acting Social Security Commissioner. The Clerk of the Court is directed to substitute Acting Commissioner Berryhill as the named defendant in this matter pursuant to Rule 25(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Lawrence D. Rohlfing, Steven G. Rosales, Esq., of counsel, commenced this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405 (g) and 1383 (c)(3).

         The parties consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 11, 12, 22). On December 12, 2016, this case was referred to the undersigned pursuant to General Order 05-07. (Docket No. 21).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff applied for benefits on June 10, 2011, alleging disability beginning May 5, 2011. (T at 222-28).2 The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). On January 23, 2013, a hearing was held before ALJ Marti Kirby. (T at 32). Plaintiff appeared with an attorney and testified. (T at 36-49). The ALJ also received testimony from Sandra Fioretti, a vocational expert (T at 49-52).

         On January 28, 2013, the ALJ issued a written decision denying the application for benefits. (T at 92-107). The Appeals Council thereafter granted Plaintiff's request for review, vacated the ALJ's decision, and remanded the matter for further proceedings. (T at 108-112).

2 Citations to (“T”) refer to the administrative record at Docket No. 16.

         A second hearing was held before the same ALJ on July 24, 2014. (T at 53). Plaintiff appeared with an attorney and testified. (T at 58-64, 67-68). The ALJ received testimony from David Rinehart, a vocational expert. (T at 66-67, 68-73). The ALJ issued a second decision on October 1, 2014, denying the application for benefits. (T at 6-29).

         The ALJ's second decision became the Commissioner's final decision on February 25, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (T at 1-4).

         On April 29, 2016, Plaintiff, acting by and through his counsel, filed this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. (Docket No. 1). The Commissioner interposed an Answer on September 27, 2016. (Docket No. 15). Plaintiff filed a supporting memorandum on November 15, 2016. (Docket No. 20). The Commissioner filed an opposing memorandum on December 19, 2016. (Docket No. 23).

         After reviewing the pleadings, the parties' memoranda, and administrative record, this Court finds that the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed and this case must be dismissed.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Sequential ...


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